Prepared by a distinguished panel of professors and diplomats, this concisely written book purports to set the record straight on the events of the 1965 Dominican crisis. As the full title implies, the crux of the issue is whether official U. S. reaction to the revolt was a modernized instance of “gunboat diplomacy” or a legitimate response to actual or potential Communist subversion—i.e., the possibility of a “second Cuba” in the hemisphere.
Unfortunately the panel’s execution of its task leaves much to be desired. Treatment of the subject is on the whole perfunctory. The panel concludes that the threat of a Communist takeover was strongly evident and that U. S. intervention was therefore necessary to prevent it, but it presents a weak case in justifying U. S. tactics and does little to dispel the confusion on this point which has clouded the entire episode. Particularly disappointing in this connection is the limited documentation in the report. Although given access to “primary sources,” some restricted, the panel presents few citations to support its statements. In effect, the reader is compelled to take the panel’s word.
An authoritative and unbiased analysis of U. S. involvement in the Dominican crisis is needed, but this book is not the answer.